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Has COVID-19 killed the 5-day working week?

Flexible working is the future. Right?

Allie Nawrat

flexibility, 4 day week
Credit: Sandi P via Twenty20.

70% of those surveyed are in favor of only working a four-day week for the same pay Unleash Your Work.

  • Research by MoreySmith found that British workers want more flexibility.
  • 70% of them want to work a four-day week for the same pay — although 25% are prepared to take a pay cut for an extra day off.

Research by office design firm MoreySmith has found that British workers want even more flexibility out of the future of work.

A study of more than 1,000 British workers found that two thirds wanted a flexible start time if they were to return to the office. Additionally, 44% said they were interested in access to outside terraces and gardens as part of the workspace, and 43% noted they wanted access to mental health facilities on site.

Also, 70% were in favor of only working a four-day week for the same pay – with 25% being prepared to accept a pay cut to work one day fewer a week.  

These findings are important for UK employers to consider as they look towards 21 June, the date when the government plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions.

[Read more: Boris Johnson is out of touch – employees want flexible working]

MoreySmith founder and principal director Linda Morey-Burrows commented: “Many companies want employees to return to the office from June 21st to reinstate a sense of identity and common single purpose. 

“As this polling demonstrates, it’s essential that workspaces are designed to encourage and stimulate this return to work. Offices must be designed to cater for the new world with flexibility, comfort, outside spaces and sociability in mind.”

“I think these results are a snapshot of opinion today and it’s important that we take a measured response and continue to look forward and create spaces people love to be in.”

These findings by MoreySmith follow on from the company’s 2020 report into the future of work titled the ‘New Normal.’

This research found that 100% of those surveyed in the UK in March 2020 wanted flexible working as well as the ability to choose a routine that helped them achieve a proper work-life balance.

However, it is clear that remote working was not a panacea for many; 74% struggled with a lack of collaborative working and 76% noticed a reduction in company culture while working from home.

But, moving forward, it is clear that the office of the past will not be the office of the future. Employers will need to think about how to re-design their spaces to enable better collaboration and casual conversations between teams — especially since 46% of those surveyed wanted quiet spaces for private chats in the office.

Therefore, MoreySmith recommends that companies think about “how can office design be reimagined to fuel serendipitous moments and provide sanctuaries from stress?”

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